Jun 9, 2010
North Duke 5.9
On the water: The Duke is North’s high-performance freestyle wavesail boasting the PWA Freestyle World Champion Gollito Estredo as its signature rider. On the water the sail powers up quickly from a noticeable amount of seam shaping, but has a soft feel providing good feedback from the wind that experienced riders can make the most of. A middle-of-the-road draft height balances well on our test boards in the 100-litre range. In particular, the Duke felt great on the less-efficient freestyle wave boards that needed an extra nudge to get up onto a plane. In transitions, it depowers best for tricky freestyle moves when tuned-up with a fair amount of outhaul. When bagged out with less outhaul it holds power deeper into a jibe, but the sail cannot be thrown around as easily.
Rigging: North has created informative guides for every tuning point on their sails. Most importantly, the maximum and minimum markers are perfectly placed with every tester finding their happy place within these guidelines. When used by bigger riders or when matched with bigger boards, we suggest downhauling to the min setting, while more efficient riders preferred the slippery and efficient feel found at the max setting. This makes the Duke, or any North, super easy to rig and makes it one of the few sails that will be set perfectly the first time you hit the water with it. We tested the Duke with the recommended North 430 SDM, but all of North’s manoeuvre-oriented sails are now compatible with RDM masts as well.
Final word: The Duke is a true freestyle sail blending low-end punch with a neutral feel in transitions.